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Showing posts from April, 2017

Stay A Little Bit Longer

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its  perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.


Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.  See how  the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient.  Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned.  Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!  My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.  Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by  the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
-James 1:2-4, 5:7-11 (NKJV)
My message is:  Stay a little bit longer, and let patience have its perfec…

Gathering Without The Sermon

So here’s what I want you to do. When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight. If prayers are offered in tongues, two or three’s the limit, and then only if someone is present who can interpret what you’re saying. Otherwise, keep it between God and yourself. And no more than two or three speakers at a meeting, with the rest of you listening and taking it to heart. Take your turn, no one person taking over. Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you all learn from each other. If you choose to speak, you’re also responsible for how and when you speak. When we worship the right way, God doesn’t stir us up into confusion; he brings us into harmony. This goes for all the churches—no exceptions.
-1 Corinthians 14:26-33 (MSG)
Here are two scenes of identical gatherings, with one difference, that I want to share and see what you …

Are You Going To Carry That Weight?

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
-Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Are you burned out on religion?  That is the exquisite way that Eugene Peterson translated Matthew 11:28.  Religion means working, getting tired from working and telling others to get to work.  Jesus view and style is that what we do comes out of and through rest.  Resting is not about unplugging from work, but plugging into the one who loves you.
We are 'saved unto good works', but we don't work to be saved.  The work we do was God's idea and it flows out of our relationship, in Christ:

"Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift fr…

My Grace Is Sufficient For You

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.
-2 Cor. 12:9
I was asking for the pain to go away.  I wanted the agony I was feeling to be removed.  Instead, this verse was ministered to me.
What this verse said to me was the opposite answer to my request to have the pain go away.  God was saying that he had grace for me, in the midst of the pain I was experiencing.  He also says in this verse that power, his power in my life, is perfected in my weakness.
In my pain, God did not go along with my line of thinking which was 'make the pain go away' (please).  Instead, God introduced a whole different thought to my situation.  His answer to my request for pain relief was, "My grace is more than enough and my power flows in you when you are weak".
Since this word was not what I had in mind or expected, I had to begin to a…

Finding The One

Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,  and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
-Acts 11:25-6 (NIV)
Back when I was single, I was concerned about finding 'the one' that I would marry.  I have also been concerned about finding 'the one' job and 'the one' place to live.  Right now, I have been researching cars, looking for 'the one' car.
I remember when I bought a cassette tape, almost 30 years ago, about finding a spouse.  The Bible has a lot of practical advice, but not really the idea of finding 'the one'.  In a sense, who you select becomes 'the one' and the two of you become one.

The Bible does not point us to personality tests or compatibility questionnaires.  It basically says, "walk with the Lord", and "marry a believer".
What about the other '…

Asking God For Help

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
-James 1:4-6 (NIV)
I want to talk about asking God for help.  We continually have challenges in life that stretch us beyond what we know to do.  And we must learn to ask God for help.
When we ask God for help, it is not like asking someone to lend us a hand.  Asking God for help is availing ourselves to God's goodness, grace and love.  Asking God requires my listening and following God.
Asking God means that when God answers, I must follow.  God makes a way for me, with him.  This is very different than my asking God to help me do things my way.
God is always expanding my awareness and experience in him as I walk along in life…

After Easter Reflections

After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God. -Acts 1:3
Today is the day after Easter, the first day of forty days until the day Jesus ascended.  Ancient church traditions call today 'Bright Monday', which is the beginning of 'Bright Week'.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he started appearing to various people.  He surprised them, taught them, reassured them, admonished them and commissioned them.  Christ appeared to and continued to shift and shape the lives of his followers.
The message of Easter is: resurrection life now, not someday.
This is the message embodied in all of Jesus post resurrection stories.  In other words, he is not a dead philosopher or religious leader, who left followers behind, who carried on his school of thought; rather he is a living person who saves people for living his life now.
Have you wondered about how Christians celebrate…

Easter Reflections

When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.  Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
-Luke 22:14-15
What Easter means to me is that God has a plan.  God acted and carried out that plan.  
We were continually surprised by what God did.  Jesus interacted with the people as he carried out the plan.
The plan was not a script or a 'to do list', with check boxes.  The plan unfolded, for Jesus and for the people around him.
Jesus did everything he did, as a man; without the attributes, power or privileges of God; while maintaining his identity as Son of God.  He did this, so that He could save humanity completely, through and through; inside out.
Jesus had told and warned the apostles that he was going to suffer and be put to death, and rise on the third day.  But when we read the stories, it seems like they might not have understood.
Knowing where he was going, that he was about to suffer, Jesus wan…

Hopeful

For many days neither sun nor stars appeared, and the severe storm kept raging. Finally all hope that we would be saved was disappearing.


He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be.


Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in thehope of the glory of God.
And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance,  endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.   This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put aside childish things. For now we …

Christian Living Begins With Surrender

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. -Romans 12:1 (NIV)

When God changed my life, a word that came to my mind, over and over, was, "Surrender".  I discovered that God wanted me, all of me.  Even though I knew God and was a Christian; God was calling me to enter into a surrendered life.  I began to experience living a surrendered life to God.
In the evangelical culture I am familiar with, one thing we do is play worship music in our cars or in our homes, or walk through the bustling city streets, with earbuds on, listening to our favorite worship music and letting it stir our souls.
Nothing is wrong with that.  But that is not what Romans 12:1 is talking about.
God wants our lives.  God wants our whole lives, lock stock and barrel, given over to Him.  Jesus' message was that to follow him, we must give up everything, or it will not wor…

Influence and Mentoring

"We want to be mentored."
-Millennial Generation

After hosting and then saying goodbye to a young person, who had spent the afternoon with us; I was struck with this idea of influence.  We influence everyone we come into contact with,  We also influence people unknowingly.

And how we treat people is more important than what we teach.  How we teach is more important than what we teach.  This is a very hard word for teachers to hear who have excellence as their goal.

Think about Jesus as a teacher.  He is the best person and best teacher.

He could teach the Law or The Torah pedantically.  He could preach in the streets.  And he could accommodate himself to the liturgical customs of the local synagogues and bring a message from the scrolls there.

But he also taught in many other ways, like parables and stories.  He also mixed doing with teaching, as in doing healings, deliverances and miracles.  He also taught through questioning his listeners.

Why would the way we teach, tra…

Come Dancing

My love calls to me:

Arise, my darling.
Come away, my beautiful one.
For now the winter is past;
the rain has ended and gone away.
The blossoms appear in the countryside.
The time of singing has come,
and the turtledove’s cooing is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs;
the blossoming vines give off their fragrance.
Arise, my darling.
Come away, my beautiful one. -Song of Songs 2:10-13

Come dancing.  Have you heard God say that?

What would that mean?  I think that when we dance, we have stopped being passive and instead activated.  Dancing is moving.

When I am moving, I can be guided or 'course corrected'.  The motion of dancing gives me the ability to be guided.  'Come dancing' is similar to, 'let's take a walk", 'get up and go', 'now, run'.

If someone invites you to dance, they are asking you to join the dance, with them or with others.  The invitation implies the plurality of dancing.  People dance solo or privately all the t…